Saturday, December 31, 2016

BOUCHARD Père & Fils (Beaune) -- Part II: 2015 Whites Tasted from Bottle and Cask and Tank Samples

I described vintage conditions in the previous post on Bouchard’s red wines

This tasting was my first in-depth encounter with the whites of the vintage. In fall of 2015, most (but not all) white producers were not especially enthusiastic about the vintage. But the wines developed well in cask and did not display the heaviness and overripeness that had been feared. While it is not a vintage to match 2014 in white, the wines do show their terroirs well and do not have the heaviness that one sometimes encounters in 2012 and 2009. (Continue reading here.)

Friday, December 30, 2016

BOUCHARD Père & Fils (Beaune) -- Part I: 2015 Reds Tasted from Cask and Tank Samples

Cellarmaster Frédéric Weber’s recounting of the vintage was in line with what others told me. Just to repeat, he said that the winter was rainy and warm, permitting the soils to be worked. The flowering was quite rapid, but cold nights wound up reducing quantity by 30-35%. The summer was warm and dry, with rain coming every time it was really needed. The oïdium in July was plentiful, requiring prompt attention, and there was a lot of sunburn of the grapes, so no leaf-pulling. August was fairly normal, and the rain at the end of August, just when it was most needed to allow continued maturation, made the vintage. Harvesting began on 2 September in Volnay and lasted roughly a week. 

Wines marked with an asterisk (*) are Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils, that is, from Bouchard’s own vineyards. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Domaine de la POUSSE D'OR (Volnay) -- 2015s from Tank Part II: Côte de Nuits

As with the Côte de Beaune wines, 2015 is a great vintage on the Nuits side for this outstanding estate. Also as on the Côte de Beaune, the frost in 2016 severely hit the Côte de Nuits vineyards here (Clos de la Roche is an exception). As I mentioned in the previous review, this is an estate that follows biodynamic practices. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Domaine de la POUSSE D'OR (Volnay) -- 2015s from Tank, Part I: Côte de Beaune

Hubert Rossignol, chef de culture, said that yields overall in 2015 were “average” — a fortunate rarity in the Côte d’Or in 2015. As usual, wines here are entirely destemmed. Malolactic fermentations finished between May and August. The alcohols for the Côte de Beaune wines “flirt" with 13º except fro the Cortons, which are at 13.5º. 

The estate is organic and biodynamic.

As you can see below the results are outstanding, and that will continue with my next report, on the Pousse d’Or 2015s from the Côte de Nuits. (Continue reading here.) 

Domaine ROLLIN Père & Fils (Pernand-Vergelesses): 2014s Tasted from Bottle

My review of Rollin’s 2014’s from bottle and tank based on tasting in November 2015 is here. 2014, as I’ve been saying all along, is a great vintage in white, but as you can see here, the reds, when from a good source such as Rollin, are also of excellent quality. (Continue reading here.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Domaine ROLLIN Père & Fils (Pernand-Vergelesses): 2015s from Bottle and Tank

Smart Burgundy buyers know this as an excellent, underrated source in white, but even more so in red. This is an outstanding source for the wines of Pernand-Vergelesses and one where the wines continue to improve for quite a while after bottling.

As usual here, the grapes are entirely destemmed. Malolactic fermentations finished in May and June. As you will see, some wines were already in bottle, the remaining ones were to be bottled in December and January.

We start here with the reds: (Continue reading here;)

Recently Tasted Reds from Provence and Southern Rhône: Chateau Bas/Blanquet, Chateau Barthes, Clos Cibonne, Domaine de l'Hermitage, Richaud, Tempier

I’m not a great fan of Grenache, the major grape in much of the south of France, but still, overripeness is a problem, regardless, in recent vintages. (Continue reading here.)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Domaine Pierre GUILLEMOT (Savigny-les-Beaune): 2015s Tasted from Bottle and Cask

As readers may know, frosts and then oïdium greatly reduced crop yields in some — but not all — villages in 2016. No village was hit harder than Savigny-les-Beaune. Vincent Guillemot said his 2016 crop is about 20% of normal — this after very reduced yields for almost every vintage after 2009. As a result, the estate will be selling its wines more slowly than in the past in order to provide a more consistent cash flow. Consequently, you may not see 2015s offered at the usual time.

Although the quality of the grapes was excellent, quantity was only half of normal due to the small grapes. Malolactic fermentations were very slow, and as you will see, there were malos still underway when I tasted in October.  In 2015 (and in 2016), all the wines are with whole clusters. As usual, one can get some very good values for Burgundy here. (Continue reading here.)

Recent Southwest France Reds: Cosse et Maisonneuve, Château Gaudou, Château La Grave/Bernède, Plageoles

It’s not always easy to locate the best producers of wines from the Southwest of France (other than Bordeaux, of course), but they can present some of the keenest values around today. Here’s a selection of the best reds I’ve come across over the last few months. Obviously, for me, Plageoles is the leader, but there certainly are other estates worth seeking out, indeed, far more than I’ve done with my occasional samplings.

Earlier reviews of wines from the region are here and here. (Continue reading here.)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

2015 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Tasted from Barrel

Normally, I taste the wines from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in my last week of tasting, when I already have a very good idea of the vintage’s styles and possibilities. However, that was not the case this year; indeed, my very first visit of my four-week October-November visit in Burgundy was at the Domaine.

As explained elsewhere in my commentaries on the 2015 vintage in general, everything went about as well as possible in the vineyards. After the rapid and uniform flowering, Aubert de Villaine in his annual report on the vintage wrote that over the summer, the vines “liked the dry weather in 2015. The July heat waves stopped their evolution at least twice, but each time these were counterbalanced by stormy episodes that brought the needed humidity. As a result, the evolution of the vineyards was nearly ideal and thanks to these exceptional weather conditions, 2015 was a rather easy vintage for the vigneron. We could always intervene in the right place at the right moment, whatever the work to be done: compost supply, manual work, work for the oil or phytosanitary treatments.” 

He did note the challenge of oïdium, as the sulphur compound that the Domaine uses to combat the fungus loses its effectiveness above 30º C (86º F), a threshold frequently crossed in 2015, but in the end, the threat did not materialize. (Continue reading here.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Further Observations of 2015 Red Wines in Burgundy

Still trying to get everything together following recent events. There should be a lot more postings coming in the near future.

Looking back at my November 2 posting on 2015 Burgundies and supplementing it with observations from the remainder of my tastings in Burgundy, a few additional comments: (Continue reading here.)